It doesn’t appear there will be a quick end to a strike by casino workers in the Okanagan and Kamloops.
About 700 BC Government and Service Employees Union members walked off the job Friday at sites owned by Gateway Casinos in Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and Kamloops.
Company spokesperson Tanya Gabara says they had mediation dates scheduled for this week with a mediator and the BC Labour Relations Board but, she says over the weekend, the union told them they were no longer available for those dates.
Gabara says the union has suggested July 9 to 11 for mediation, and they are waiting for word if a mediator will be available.
“We want to get our unionized employees back to work and remain committed to mediation whether that is July 4-6 or July 9-11 or both. In the meantime, we have a responsibility to those that remain on the job and to our customers, therefore we’re open.”
The union tells Beach Radio, it had scheduling conflicts with those dates, and denies stalling talks.
Gabara admits bargaining is a process, but adds they can’t reach a mutually agreeable contract if we don’t come together at the table.
“We hope that the union and all picketers will continue to respect the right for people to enter the casino without impediment or harassment.”
President Stephanie Smith, who was scheduled to be in Vernon Tuesday to meet with workers, has said the unionized workers are seeking “living wages that would bring them in line with the industry standard for casino workers in BC.”
The employees work in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, security, guest services and maintenance.
Gateway has reduced hours at three of the four outlets including closing Mondays and Tuesdays at Lake City in Vernon.